The Ultimate Ground

Every worldview has an ultimate ground or foundation. A coherent worldview (that is, a philosophy or theology) will identify their ground as an axiom, or a given. Incoherent ones will not identify it.

Let us look briefly at the ultimate ground of Leftism, Libertarianism, and what is called Conservatism, but which might more properly be called Federalism, Republicanism, or Constitutionalism.


Leftism is incoherent because it will not identify its ground. I am not sure why but I have a theory: Marxism is an attempt to come to Christian conclusions about caring for the poor without Christ; it is an attempt to use monsters called things like ‘the material dialectic of history’ in the same role that pagans used norns or fates and Christians use the Will of God, namely, a theory to explain the order of future events. Marx identified original sin as the private ownership of factories, and foresaw, after the Tribulation of the World Revolution and the defeat of the Beast and the Antichrist of Capitalism (this nonword is a verbal fetish that means nothing but which even conservatives tend to confuse with the ‘free market’) would see the New Jerusalem descend as if adorned like a bride, and all the rules of supply and demand and the disutility of labor would be abolished.

So, in other words, Marx is a heretic, and he will not and cannot identify the true ground of his theory because the true ground is God. Without a divine being to organize history and ordain the outcome of the Apocalypse of the Proletarian, the Marxist theory makes no sense.

The Left take their inspiration and their cues from Marxism, but disliking the cold and clear logic which leads from his premise that work is theft to his conclusion that mass murder is liberation, the Leftists adopted Marxism without admitting that Marx was their ground. Feminists, for example, use the same analysis to denigrate male-female relations as Marx used to denigrate employee-employer relations. The language, the hatred, the promise of utopia, the tactic of blaming all human sin on current social laws and customs — all of this is the same between Marxism and Feminism.

The ultimate ground of any worldview depends on what its partisans define as their enemies, whom they fear and fight, and their vision, which they seek to enact.

The enemy of Leftism is a croquemitaine called ‘The Oppressor’.

In Marx, for some reason, persons who invest money in businesses are the Oppressor. In feminism, for some reason, their husbands, fathers, brothers and sons are the Oppressor. Leftists are simply blind to threats not issuing from a given oppressor group, such as, for example, Mohammedan Jihadists. There is no category in their brain for such a concept: Newspeak does not allow them to form any coherent sentences where third-world nonwhites are the bad guys, no matter what they do.

For Libertarians, their ultimate ground is that life is valuable in and of itself. They observe that property and liberty are necessary for life, and they identify the government is limited only to those things that hinder and deter assaults and trespasses against life and property.

For the Libertarian, the Government is the enemy.

A Jihad is only a threat because it gives the government an excuse to stripsearch innocent airline passengers. Unscrupulous businesses introducing dangerous goods into the stream of commerce is not a threat because it is defined out of existence, or it is claimed private tort suits or coordinated boycotts by civic minded consumers are sufficient to arrest the harm, which is any case is less then the harm caused by state inspection laws.

It is clever in a reductionist way, but does not explain the sentiments of Horatio at the Bridge: if no libertarian is willing to die for the minimalist social contract called the state, then no all-volunteer armed force can, or should, or would stand in arms against a determined foe.

The ultimate ground of Conservative thinking is God. Outside of the Christian worldview, there is no logical reason to believe that the poor, the weak, the female, the stupid, the serf and the stinking peon is equal to the wise and great and beautiful to whom life has granted the crown and scepter of leadership and popularity.

The enemy of the conservative is the barbarian.

Since I am a conservative myself, if there is a blindspot to conservatism, I suppose I cannot see it.

When my fellow science fiction fans who lean Left tell me in all earnestness that DUNE could not be published today because rampant Islamophobia based on irrational race-hatred and xenophobic fear of THE OTHER has overwhelmed and flooded America to its last cranny, and that we are on the brink of erupting into Christian-led race riots, hanging anyone found in a turban from the nearest lamppost, shipping any lady in a headscarf off to concentration camps for hideous mutagenic experiments, and their little brown children to be ground into soylent green, my only desire is to slap my fellow science fiction fans who lean Left over and over again in the face until some semblance of sanity is regained.

The danger of the eruption of a new and virulent strain of killer Amishmen or a rush of Nun-Assassins killing thousand of innocent brown people when the Pope declares a crusade is more remote a fear than the fear that the cheese will fall off the moon and strike Wisconsin with enough force to tip the plate of the flat earth off the back of the cosmic tortoise on whose shell we rest, so that when the Pacific Ocean is upended, it will sweep across the plains of the tilted world, and slay us all. Unless witches hired by the GOP turn us into hamsters first.

So I admit there may be dangers from racist woman-hating patriarchs suddenly emerging from caverns in West Virginia by the millions to sacrifice all the gays and pederasts to Shuma-Gorath, and then burn the world with greenhouses gases in order to terraform the planet into Venus, but to me severity and the probability of that danger is vanishingly small, and certainly than the danger, for example, posed by wealthy, Western-educated sons of oil sheiks funding well-armed terrorist cells to commit mass murder on our soil, which is something that can actually happen because it actually did happen, and not because we deserved it.

 

109 Comments

  1. Comment by meunke:

    The Wright Hammer has struck!!

  2. Comment by Mark:

    I think your definition the ultimate ground of Libertarianism is off. I would argue that the ultimate ground of Libertarianism better stated as the principle of non-aggression – no one has the right to initiate force against the person or property of another. Note that the non-aggression principal does not preclude force in self defense, and that includes force in the self defense of one’s own person or property as well as the person or property of others.

    I would also argue that Libertarians have no issue with government, that is, established rules of societal conduct. What they have an issue with is the State, an apparatus put together supposedly to implement government, but which goes to much greater lengths in clear violation of the non-aggression principle. With this understanding, a Jihad is not a threat because it gives the state the excuse to further violate the rights of those within the state, a Jihad is a threat because it violates the non-aggression principle.

    So for the Libertarian, government is not the enemy, but any one who violates the non-aggression principle is the enemy (granted, in our current environment, this is mostly likely to be our government!).

    As for the sentiments of Horatio at the Bridge, you said “if no libertarian is willing to die for the minimalist social contract called the state, then no all-volunteer armed force can, or should, or would stand in arms against a determined foe.” This is utter nonsense. While it may be true no libertarian would die for the “minimalist social contract called the state” (oh if it were truly minimalist!), I find it highly unlikely that no libertarian would willing to die to protect themselves, their family and their friends. Further, there is nothing under Libertarian principles that precludes someone from forming an all volunteer army to provide defense services for the protection of others. There is historical precedence for such a thing; this type of army was very prevalent in days of this country’s revolution against the Crown. And actually, the Jihadists themselves are a part of such a volunteer army, and seem to have no issues with dying for their cause (although admittedly, such a Jihadist is unlikely to be a libertarian).

    Finally, can you clarify your comment on the ultimate ground for the conservative? It may indeed be a god, but where the Marxist is attempting to reach Christian conclusions with no Christian God, it looks to me like your argument is that the Conservative is trying to reach Christian conclusions with Government as God. The barbarian may indeed be the enemy of the Conservative, but if the Christian God was truly the conservative’s ultimate ground, then the priority would be on converting the barbarian, rather than killing him. If, however, the state is the “God” in question, then your conclusions as to where we are to look for protection are apt.

    • Comment by John C Wright:


      I would argue that the ultimate ground of Libertarianism better stated as the principle of non-aggression

      I gave the nonagression principle tacitly in my definition. Reread what I wrote. I am explaining why the nonagression principle covers aggression against persons and property, but not against reputation and honor. Libertarians regard the use of force to be authorized to expel a trespasser on your land, but not to avenge a slander.


      Further, there is nothing under Libertarian principles that precludes someone from forming an all volunteer army to provide defense services for the protection of others.

      You prove my point. The thing cannot even be said without absurdity. An all volunteer army providing defensive services to subscribers? Reread Horatio at the Bridge. The Libertarians take no account of culture, no account of the organic unity of the city, no account of that mystic love that prompts men to lay down their lives for each other. A libertarian commonwealth would be prohibited from using public funds or public laws for anything encouraging that unity and patriotism.


      And actually, the Jihadists themselves are a part of such a volunteer army, and seem to have no issues with dying for their cause (although admittedly, such a Jihadist is unlikely to be a libertarian).

      That is exactly my point. Libertarianism is a philosophical posture on how best to arrange matters in a hotel where we are all staying for the evening, how to arrange things between strangers with no strong emotional bonds or enmities to each other. Mohammedanism is a heresy which, like the Christianity it is mimicking and mocking, must absorbs all parts of a man’s life to his very soul. Men live and die by their gods. Libertarianism is not a god. No one will die for it.


      Finally, can you clarify your comment on the ultimate ground for the conservative? It may indeed be a god, but where the Marxist is attempting to reach Christian conclusions with no Christian God, it looks to me like your argument is that the Conservative is trying to reach Christian conclusions with Government as God.

      I am very glad that at last someone asked a question instead of asserting that it seemed like a said something and argued against the seeming. Thank you. However, it is impossible to read what I write and come to the conclusion that I or any conservative regard the Caesar to be god. Everything I say points to the opposite conclusion. Your idea is so wrongheaded I cannot even imagine where to begin. I will say only, no, I never said anything even remotely within nine billion cubic parsecs of anything like that statement, or any of its second cousins.

      • Comment by Mark:

        I realize the post dealt mostly with Leftism, and the six sentences devoted to Libertarianism were not meant to be a thorough delineation. From the comments, it appears that the ratio of words on Libertarianism to those of Leftism and Conservatism mimics your readership. Nevertheless, even though I’ve let an entire weekend pass without looking at the blog, and knowing that my post will not be seen after the 100 or so other comments, I still will reply. (Such much be the plight destined for Libertarians, as they have spilled much ink, yet have changed things so little that even the political party that bears the name Libertarian doesn’t represent the movement’s ideals).

        First, thank you for clarifying with regard to the non-aggression principle; while you as a former Libertarian saw it the tacitly in the wording, many of your non-Libertarian blog readers would likely miss that. You completed the definition nicely in your response to me.

        Second, you stated “The Libertarians take no account of culture, no account of the organic unity of the city, no account of that mystic love that prompts men to lay down their lives for each other.” On what do you base this statement? For me personally, it doesn’t hold true, and I’ve read enough of the ink spilt by Libertarians to know it would be hotly refuted in many Libertarian circles. Just because one adheres to a non-aggression principle does not mean culture, community and family are abandoned.

        You also state “A libertarian commonwealth would be prohibited from using public funds or public laws for anything encouraging that unity and patriotism.” I agree with this statement, but so what? Do you really mean to state that unless funds are forcibly and without consent taken from people and put to the use of encouraging unity and patriotism for the entity which has just taken their funds, such values won’t be taught? As one who has been in the homeschooling community across the country for almost two decades, I can tell you that those very values are taught in homes across the country without using one cent of public funding (in fact, quite the opposite, as those families are paying for the public school down the street, even though they would never set foot in it.) I can also tell you that many of those same families hold to, and are teaching their children Libertarian principles (easily done, they just use a lot of the writings of the founders).

        As to the absurdity of an all volunteer force, why is it absurd that people would group together to defend their homes, businesses and families? Even if that were not enough, mercenaries have been available for hire throughout history, with those volunteers not fighting for anything more than personal glory and the spoils of victory. Our libertarian founders managed to band together to fight against the prevailing culture and King without anything more than a common opponent to bind them together. Do you think the Koch Brothers would be unable to assemble a decent defense force (sorry, had to throw in a gratuitous reference to Koch just to see if any Leftist read this far. I’ll know based on whether there is the customary kneejerk response provided for anything Koch).

        I see why you draw your conclusion as such; your response to my Jihiaist quote demonstrates the hollowness of your perceived Libertarian. You said “Libertarianism is a philosophical posture on how best to arrange matters in a hotel where we are all staying for the evening, how to arrange things between strangers with no strong emotional bonds or enmities to each other.” How do you arrive at this conclusion? People who hold to Libertarianism forego all human emotion and bonds simply because they do not want to be forced to give or submit to another? There is nothing in Libertarianism which requires such a stance; not wanting to be forced into an action does not preclude a person voluntarily submitting to the same action.

        You also said “Men live and die by their gods. Libertarianism is not a god. No one will die for it.” By this logic, since you imply that Conservatism provides the only means by which people can provide a common defense, Conservativism must be a god. Is that truly what you meant?

        While I see your strong denunciations against treating Caesar as God, how does the Conservative get things done? You said earlier that public funds have to be appropriated to teach culture, so are you not in fact arguing that the Conservative believes in using Government to force people to get things done? Seems to me that if a Conservative truly has the God of the Judeo Christian Bible as the ultimate foundation, that no public funds would be needed at all. The Conservative would simply rely on God to provide, and not a human institution such as an organized State. This also seems to be in line with what God actually wanted based on 1 Samuel 8:11-19 (God’s idea of how a nation should operate would seem to fall more in the Libertarian camp than the Conservative camp!)

        What I’m asking is how you get away from the conclusion that since the ultimate ground of Conservatism is God, the Conservative therefore considers the actions of Government to be the actions of God? That is akin to the “divine right of kings”, the opposition to which formed the basis of our nation’s establishment.

        Finally, let me thank you for responding in detail to my earlier comments; even though from the stream of comments it’s clearly not as exciting to spar with Libertarians as it is with Leftists (due in no small part to the fact that apparently Libertarians don’t read blogs on weekends, and probably due to the fact that at least this Libertarian can only write in a string of paragraphs and not sound bites!)

    • Comment by Jim:

      Trouble with the non aggression principle is that you are likely to be stomped by aggressors.

      Any society in which what Xenophon did was not legitimate, what Clive of India did was not legitimate, is not going to survive. You need a certain amount of tribalism and willingness to return to old fashioned killer apes methods.

      • Comment by Mark:

        Nothing in the Non-Aggression principle prohibits self defense. The Founders of this country were generally libertarian in philosophy of government, yet they managed to overcome the most powerful aggressor in the world. Interestingly enough, the Continental Army authorized by the Continental Congress didn’t have all that much success, but the small bands of volunteers throughout the states did a pretty good job in what amounted to guerilla warfare.

  3. Comment by cgerrib:

    Mr. Wright – you have an irritating tendency to start with a false premise and proceed on. In this case the first false premise is that “the left” is based on Marxism. It’s not – the terms “left” and “right” came into political use in the French Revolution and Marx wasn’t even born until 1818. As with any political generalization, there are a wide variety of ideologies underneath the left’s umbrella. Marxism is just one such ideology.

    Moreover, these ideologies change over time. What you are defining as “Federalism, Republicanism, or Constitutionalism” was in its time a radical, leftist, idea. The Founding Fathers were fighting George III, who was conducting a last-ditch campaign to reinstate absolutist monarchy in England. George III was the “conservative” in that battle, arguing for the divine right of kings.

    You say: Leftists are simply blind to threats not issuing from a given oppressor group, such as, for example, Mohammedan Jihadists. – No, not really. At your next seance, ask Osama Bin Laden if he thinks President Obama is blind to the threat from his fellows. In short, this is another false premise. The real argument is not over whether radical Islam is a threat. The argument is over degree of threat posed and appropriate response to the threat.

    Chris Gerrib

    • Comment by ConceptJunkie:

      I think I’m going to duck and cover.

    • Comment by Zaklog the Great:

      You say: Leftists are simply blind to threats not issuing from a given oppressor group, such as, for example, Mohammedan Jihadists. – No, not really.

      Please explain the term “Islamophobia”, then. If leftists are not completely blind to the very real threat posed by radical Islam, then please explain why they made up yet another word whose entire purpose is to declare any worry about this threat irrational and pathological.

      • Comment by cgerrib:

        A phobia is an irrational or overstated fear. It is not irrational to be afraid of poisonous snakes, but to be afraid of all snakes is a phobia.

        Grouping all followers of Islam into the group of people who wish to harm us is “Islamaphobia.” Some (if not many or most) Muslims don’t wish to harm us, and some of those who do wish to inflict harm lack the means.

        So Islamaphobia is randomly invading Muslim countries as opposed to targeted killing of extremists.

        • Comment by John C Wright:

          The way to stop being called a liar is to stop lying.


          Grouping all followers of Islam into the group of people who wish to harm us is “Islamaphobia.”

          No one has done this. No one is planning on doing this. It is a lie. What we say is that the moderate Muslims are like the non-Nazi Germans during World War Two, or the non-Communist Russian during the Cold War. They support their side lukewarmly, and our side not at all, and are not in a position to be allies, and need not be comforted or coddled.

          The lie is enunciated so that Leftwing celebration, defense, and apologetic of everything Islamic can be cloaked under the rhetoric of stopping ‘Islamophobia.’


          So Islamaphobia is randomly invading Muslim countries

          Another lie, and a particularly vicious one. Have you no shame? I cannot believe we are still having this discussion (http://www.scifiwright.com/2012/05/i-cannot-believe-we-are-still-having-this-discussion/)

        • Comment by Zaklog the Great:

          “Randomly invading Muslim countries”

          Yup, that’s exactly what happened. Bush put a map of the world on the wall and threw darts until it hit a couple of majority Muslim countries, then we invaded.

          • Comment by John C Wright:

            She is not making a serious accusation. She knows it is a falsehood. She is saying it as a verbal formula, a word fetish, to count coup on her enemies, to make a public display of alleged moral superiority. No one is so stupid or ill informed as not to know the reasons for the Gulf War.

        • Comment by Zaklog the Great:

          By the way, Lee Rigby says hello.

        • Comment by sator:

          I’m sorry Mr Chris but could you care to specify what exactly IS the ground level of modern progressive and “leftist” (if you pass me the term) tought if it ISN’T “marxism” as defined as the belief that humanity is divided in Two arbitrary groups, whatever those might be but in marxism proper it’s proletarians and capitalists, whose conflict SHAPE history in a vicious circle only breakable by the final victory of the “oppressed” One?

          Because i, Mr. Wright and a good percentage of this blog’s commentariat (not to mention several milions of other people) see it all the time and we can’t make sense of leftist tought without it. We would literaly LOVE to be proven wrong on that, because it would mean that effective dialogue is actually possible with the “left”, something on wich we’ve lost faith since more or less the ’30s.

          We know this “fundation” can’t be the same as that of classical liberalism because the modern left’s opinions on the nature and theoretical scope of government just doesn’t follow from classical Liberal assumptions.

          You seem to have some faith in the concept of “progress” since you arguably state that the conservatives of today were the leftists of yesterday. But progress towards what exactly? for the benefit of whom? And for what reason is this progress necessary?

          PS: Mr. Gerrib is indeed a Mr. I checked his blog.

          • Comment by John C Wright:

            That Mr Gerrib is a Mister is quite a shame to him. I am willing to excuse teenage girls for being hysterical and cowardly and silly because it is cute when a girl is silly, and girls are not expected to be brave, and youth has no experience, no wisdom, no dignity, and no ability put their young, green thoughts into words.

            For a grown man never to have spoken honestly to a member of the loyal opposition is beyond belief. How can any man, unless he were raised in a cave by mutes, not know how to answer a question or stick to a topic? How could any grown man be unable, when called upon to do so, to be logical?

            • Comment by sator:

              This is a little beyond the scope of the discussion: regardless of the circumstances that produced them the facts stand and it’s on us to answer them in a properly gentlemanly fashion ;)

              • Comment by Centurion13:

                They’re counting on that, you see, as they circle us for the sucker punch. I firmly believe gentlemen need only be gentlemen with gentlemen. Or ladies. YMMV. I draw the line at those who’ve made it clear they will stab at your back – or in this case, distract you from your point with silly, circular gibbering – only from the safety of the internet.

                They are not gentlemen. Or ladies.

                I don’t know what to call them – Morlocks is about as good a name as any – but they are not gentlemen. And I, at least, would not bring a dueling knife to a war.

                • Comment by John C Wright:

                  One can politely say, as I have with other Morlocks, ‘excuse me if I do not pursue the conversation further’ or even ‘the topic is closed’ or ‘Good day and good bye’ of ‘Please go away’ without calling names. One can be firm and polite.

                  In this case, however, Grubbin or whatever his name was lying, and it was not rude for me to call him a liar. That was merely a statement of fact, like calling a criminal a criminal. It was when I found out he was actually a grown man and not the empty-headed teenager he talked like that I insulted him, which I did just to express umbrage, an emotion we Houyhnhnms are advised to avoid.

                • Comment by sator:

                  Ah, but to be kind with the kind, to be honest with the Honest and Chivalrious with other knights is the EASY thing to do. To fight the good fight is Also to be kind with the brutes, chivalrious with villains and polite with the vulgar.

        • Comment by Fail Burton:

          It’s probably a good time to point out here that Gerrib is a die-hard intersectionalist who believes in “white privilege” and the racist attack platform of “diversity.” “Diversity” is where people like Gerrib support all-black SFF symposiums and all-women anthologies and then laughingly add the Orwellian #DiversityInSFF hashtag. That is not liberalism but supremacy, bigotry and racism.

          Here is a quote from Steven Plaut at Middle East Forum:

          “The world is full of examples of radical departures from numerical homogeneity in representation that clearly have nothing at all to do with discrimination: Jews around the world are over-represented among those admitted into universities relative to their numbers in the general population even in countries that have official policies of discriminating against Jews. Asian Americans are also over-represented among U.S. college students but not because these colleges discriminate against non-Asians. American blacks are not prominent in sports because of anti-white discrimination.

          “The fallaciousness of the idea that discrimination is proven by deviation from numerical homogeneity in representation cannot be over-emphasized. It crops up in almost every debate about ethnic or gender discrimination. When feminists, media commentators, and even many academics wish to prove that discrimination exists, their proof usually consists of presenting numbers that show departure from homogeneity. Such figures are selected when they serve the agenda of the commentator or advocate.”

        • Comment by ChevalierdeJohnstone:

          Dr. Zuhdi Jasser (http://aifdemocracy.org/about/staff/founder-president/) is very supportive of military force used against predominantly Muslim states and groups some, but not all, followers of Islam into a group of people who wish harm to those not them and in particular to U.S. citizens and their allies. He also was instrumental in building at least one mosque, and his family are devout attendees.

          Stephen Suleyman Schwartz (http://www.islamicpluralism.org) identifies with the political left and yet is capable of differentiating between groups of followers of Islam who wish to practice their faith in peace and groups who wish to violently persecute others. He is a Sufi and a student of one of the oldest and most respected schools of Islamic legal tradition.

          Islamophobes?

        • Comment by ConceptJunkie:

          All Muslims are not the threat. Most Muslims are peaceful, God-fearing people, especially in the U.S.. But that doesn’t change the fact that Islam itself is a threat.

          Most German citizens in the early 1940s were peaceful, decent, Christian people who just wanted to live their lives. It didn’t matter. Tens of millions were killed because of Germany’s aggression and extermination tactics.

          Most Russians in the Soviet Union were peaceful, decent, Christian people who just wanted to live their lives. It didn’t matter. Communism in the Soviet Union starved millions of people, imprisoned millions of people and subjected several generations to untold misery.

          Most Chinese are peaceful, decent people, who just wanted to live their lives. It didn’t matter. The Chinese government systematically killed tens of millions in addle-headed attempts at central economic planning.

          Most Japanese… but you get the point.

          Islam conquered a significant part of the civilized world in the first millennium and early second, and it was only due to the glorious Crusaders and the bravest warriors of Christendom that all of Europe didn’t succumb to conversion by the sword.

          You see, Islam had its “reform” in the early second millennium, the reform that returned back to its primitive roots and stifled the tremendous cultural, scientific and philosophical advances that were happening throughout the Islamic world with the introduction of Greek philosophy and real learning. Those advances, culture and learning largely evaporated and have remained so to this day in almost every Muslim stronghold on the planet.

          So anyone who has a healthy fear of Islam is not being phobic at all, but is being clear-headed and prudent. No one is “randomly” invading Muslim countries, except maybe other Muslim countries. You’re going to have to try harder than this lame bumper-sticker logic if you want to make your point.

          • Comment by John C Wright:

            Of course all the Lefties know this. They know damn well that no one on the Right believes all Islamics are Islamists. But their worldview loses all its point and purpose is the Right is not filled with racist ignorant hate, and where the hate does not exist, they invent it, just to level the accusation.

          • Comment by Sean Michael:

            Hi, ConceptJunkie,

            Islam is an evil and false religion. But that does NOT mean all Mohammedans are evil, merely mistaken.

            As for the intellectual sterility we have seen in Islam during the past one thousand years, I date that, as you do, from when Mohammedans increasingly rejected being influenced by Classical and Christian thought. Interestingly, that occurred after about AD 1000, when Christianity began to really decline in North Africa and the Middle East.

            There are many reasons, theological, social, political, etc., for why I detest Mohammedanism, but I’ll simply say that Mohammedanism’s belief in merging mosque and state into a theocratic unity is inevitably tyrannical and totalitarian.

            The best book about Islam I have read is Harry Austryn Wolfson’s THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE KALAM. Too briefly, the book is about how the early Mohammedans reacted to contact with Classical and Christian/Jewish thought. Fair warning, the book is at graduate school level!

            I recommend as well the books of Bernard Lewis and Bat Ye’or for good accounts of Muslim history and current affairs.

            Sincerely, Sean M. Brooks

      • Comment by Tamquam:

        “Islamophobia” was coined to lampoon and thus undermine the position that Islam and it’s adherents are dangerous and ought to be opposed, and all who hold that position. “Ha, ha! Look at those racist wing nut troglodytes! How foolish they are to be irrationally consumed with hatred for the Religion of Peace! Bunch of reactionary, warmongering maroons.”

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      Forgive my impatience, but I have written many, many times about the difficulty of naming the nameless evil you serve. This movement goes by many names, all of them misleading. Any name that ceases to mislead is dropped, and another misleading name adopted, so no name is permanent. Liberal they call themselves, albeit they diminish liberty, and Progressive they call themselves, but they retard or reverse progress. Political Correctness is the least misleading of the names, and hence the one least likely to be used or admitted. They call themselves Freethinkers, but they think like slaves.

      All the terms used by the Left are lies, and so obviously none of them are accurate. They are selected for this inaccuracy. They are false coloration, meant to deceive. You yourself promote two of the deceptions in your comment. That is why I suggest the more descriptive term ‘Morlocks.’

      And, obviously there is a wide variety within a camp whose main philosophy is philosophical incoherence. I do not expect a group whose main point is emotionalism to adhere consistently to a set of defined principles. The most one can say about a mob is its general direction and mainstreams of thought, which I have done.

      I have also answered this particular objection of yours several times now, I reject it as an unworthy tactic on your part, and strongly suggest you drop it. I am speaking in generalizations, as every man must speak when he speaks of his fellow men, who are all individuals.

      Your philosophy is based on Marxism, and you deny it either because you are ignorant, or you are a liar. It is Marxism without the starch.

      Yes, philosophies change over time. That is not only obvious, it is irrelevant to the topic. Federalism was originally an idea that was radical, leftist, and liberal, and this is why your philosophy, Morlockery, appropriated those terms to apply to your philosophy, which is the opposite of all these things.

      And yes, your lying-ass terminology allows you to claim that ‘conservative’ means reactionary clinging to the past, so that a Monarchist is a conservative when Republicanism is new, an Imperialist is conservative when Monarchy is young, a Republican is a conservative again when Caesar is young, and a Monarchist is conservative against when Tarquin the Proud was king. It is a definition by nonessentials, which your partisans use to flatter themselves, as if their Victorian ideas were new and were the wave of the future. My fellow conservatives use this slanted and confusing terminology because (1) no one will understand who we mean if we adopt neologisms and (2) we will beat you anyway, despite your lies.

      Which is why I specifically rejected this terminology and suggested and more honest one.

      The real argument is not over whether radical Islam is a threat. The argument is over degree of threat posed and appropriate response to the threat.

      Which is another way of saying that the Jihad is not a threat, since your side argues that the threat is minimal, and the proper response is to placate them, apologize for our wrongdoings, engage in dialog. In other words, you are rushing here to say not that the Left disregards the threat, only that you judge the threat to be so minor that you act as if you disregard it, while not technically disregarding it.

      • Comment by cgerrib:

        Having been multiply called a liar, let me dispense with politeness.

        You brand “left” as everything you disagree with, and you brand everybody you disagree with as evil. This has the great advantage (for you) of ignoring what I say, ignoring history, ignoring everything except whatever came forth in your private conversations with God.

        This sir, is a lie. You may have deluded yourself otherwise, but I write the truth and you do not.

        • Comment by John C Wright:

          I am calling you a liar, miss, not to be impolite nor to insult you, but because you are uttering things you know or should know to be untrue. That is no reason to dispense with politeness.

          The way to avoid being called a liar is to stop lying, not to do more of it.


          You brand “left” as everything you disagree with, and you brand everybody you disagree with as evil.

          A lie, and a transparent one, used in this case to disqualify my statements which cannot be otherwise disqualified by claiming (without offering proof) that my statements are arbitrary. I have a very thorough definition of Leftism, and I have enunciated it on many occasions: see here http://www.scifiwright.com/2010/03/socialism-totalitarianism-irrationalism-indecency-gnosticism/ and here http://www.scifiwright.com/2014/01/the-restless-heart-of-darkness-part-one/ and here http://www.scifiwright.com/2011/11/political-correctness-is-the-substance-of-darkness-part-i/

          The short answer is that a Leftist one who economically is socialist, politically is totalitarian, metaphysically is nihilist, ethically is subjectivist.

          Obviously, I am opposed philosophically Mohammedan Sharia Law, to Imperialism, to Monarchy, to Anarchy, but I would never call a Monarchist nor an Anarchist a Leftist. You are uttering an entirely frivolous accusation which you know is a lie, perhaps out of frustration.

          Now, I do owe you an apology. Your callsign is similar to another reader who has been reading my blog for years, and so well knows how often I have addressed and answered the simpleminded rote criticisms you have attempted to level, and so my tone was more brusque with you than it should have been. Sorry about that. I did not mean to cheese you off.

          As for the rest of your ad hominem: please note that I have said on many occasions that Leftist have no argument to make, no reasoning to give, no evidence to present. What they do instead is mock, deride, and sneer at people who disagree with them, just as you do here with me, you craven vole.

          I am not ignoring what you say, it is just that you have said nothing I have not answered a million times. You have brought up no historical examples of anything I am not already familiar with. Your sneer against God is merely to show off your blasphemous heart, and pat yourself on the back. It is, once again, an emotional reaction put in emotional language to convey a nonverbal emotional signal: you are putting into words what is basically a wordless scream of hate and frustration, I assume because your parroted verbal formula are not having the magic effect you supposed.

          So, everything you said about me is a lie, but was not intended to be true. You were not attempting to state a fact about a fellow human person, you were indulging in a verbal formula against someone who is a symbol to you. I am like a ghost you are trying to banish with words of an exorcism.

          You have, to date, raised two verbal formulas with me: first, the claim that my statements can be disqualified because they are over-broad; second, the claim that my statements can be disqualified because I have not sufficiently defined my terms. To that nonsense, you now add what you consider the final and irresistible argument: third, the claim that my statements can be disqualified because my motives are bad, since I am merely being arbitrary and not listening to your (ahem) arguments.

          Aside from these three accusations of disqualification, you have put forward no arguments.

          Once, by accident, you made a statement that was actually on topic (claiming the Left did not make an argument of a certain type). Even though I suspected this was an accident, I did you the courtesy of pretending it was real and I answered it. Indeed, I handily refuted the claim by pointing out that you yourself in the same paragraph as the denial made exactly an argument of that type. You did not do me the courtesy of rebutting this.

          Everything you so far has said to me is stream-of-consciousness, merely nonsensical emotion put in the form of disconnected words. It is like reading the diary of a neurotic, just a list of emotional reactions with no relationship to the topic at hand.

          You are utterly emotional, your brain is full of incoherent trash, you cannot order your thoughts well enough to make a logical argument to save your life.

          Chris, I assume that you are girl and a young one not yet out of school. If you are going to argue with a professional philosopher, lawyer, and scholar, you must organize your arguments into a coherent form. Write a statement of what you mean to prove. Define your terms. Give your proof. End by repeating what you meant to prove. This is the simplest and more straightforward way of constructing an argument.

          And stop lying. Do that, I am promise I will be patient with you.

          • Comment by John C Wright:

            But I will not be patient if you continue to misuse terms whose meaning you do not know. A premise is an axiomatic first principle or opening statement of an argument. If you want to claim that one of my conclusions is wrong, do not call it a premise. If you think you have identified the premise, state what you think it is and why it is false.

            Don’t just throw around terms philosophers use to try to sound like one of us. I am the real deal, and we can tell when someone is a poseur.

          • Comment by Gigalith:

            Sir, please calmly contemplate the bolding of the following words in your post.

            “Your sneer against God is merely to show off your blasphemous heart, and pat yourself on the back.”

            “you are putting into words what is basically a wordless scream of hate and frustration, I assume because your parroted verbal formula are not having the magic effect you supposed.”

            “So, everything you said about me is a lie, but was not intended to be true. You were not attempting to state a fact about a fellow human person, you were indulging in a verbal formula against someone who is a symbol to you. I am like a ghost you are trying to banish with words of an exorcism.”

            “…your brain is full of incoherent trash…”

            What is the pattern? They all declare assumptions about the state of cgerrib’s brain, heart and intent as fact, facts which neither you, nor I, nor anyone else save cgerrib and God Himself can know.

            Does this make your points wrong? No. But I recall an earlier exchange between us not more than months ago on the topic, and I quote, from http://www.scifiwright.com/2014/04/chronophobia/#comment-95692: “I am not pretending to know their motives.”

            • Comment by John C Wright:

              You are correct and I stand abashed. I should have said that this blasphemy was irrelevant as well as being irreverent, said such words were not inconsistent with those utter by a person whose brain was full of incoherent trash, and left it at that.
              My own passionate emotion that seizes me when I denounce passions and emotionalism overwhelmed my dispassionate reason for a moment.
              But then again, I am sick of being lied to.

          • Comment by cgerrib:

            Mr. Wright- there is this wonderful thing called Google. Had you spent even five minutes at it, or remembered our previous conversation, you would know that I am a 47-year-old man, not some young girl. (Anybody on Google with the last name of “Gerrib” is either me or a blood relative.)

            You keep telling me I’m lying when I present truth, and you keep branding my facts lies because they don’t accord with your philosophy. There seems no further point in our conversation.

            • Comment by Zaklog the Great:

              What facts would those be? That the U.S. attacks Muslim countries at random motivated by nothing but a baseless hostility to harmless, peace-loving Islam? That today’s progressive’s are not deeply in love with the core ideas of Marxism?

              • Comment by A Spectator:

                Perhaps that there are no young women on the internet who claim to be 47-year old men?

                If one argues from merely asserted motives, as seems to be the fashion these days, one could conclude with equal certitude as is given to these “facts” that the cgerrib is a young woman. Observe!

                Clearly the cgerrib wants “his” arguments to be taken seriously rather than regarded as logically-devoid, emotionalistic yammering, which is the stereotypical stuff of tweenage girls (sample Facebook arguments thereof or listen to the music designed to appeal thereto for your evidence). 47-Year old men are generally not considered to be prone to logically-devoid, emotionalistic yammering (consider the humor of a 47-year old man whining endlessly about something not being fair while recalling that humor is a subversion of the expected). Therefore, the claim that “he” is a 47-year old man is merely a means to the end of being taken seriously and is to be rejected, for the sake of this argument, as a pretense.

                Now consider one of “his” arguments.

                “He” claims that Christian leaders are motivated by a general hatred of Muslims. Iraq is a generally Muslim country. Therefore “he” concludes that the invasion of Iraq was a lashing out at the other rather than a consequence of any of the matters ostensibly used to justify the event (which “he” would likely classify as pretense).

                This crappy argument takes the same form as the crappy argument I presented against “his” claims to maleness and middleagedness. It is therefore logically impossible for the cgerrib to deny that “he” is an adolescent girl while not simultaneously rejecting the incompetence of “his” own arguments. “He” would have to deny the valid use of baldly asserted motives as premises per se and/or the rejection of stated motives on the grounds thereof.

            • Comment by John C Wright:

              I do not google the names of callsigns left by random strangers on my blog. The idea that I am somehow negligent for not doing a background check on every hysterical neurotic who leaves hysterical and neurotic comments on my blog, is, well, neurotic. The world does not revolve around you.

              So now you admit you are the Gerrib from my previous conversation!

              Why are you accusing me of not defining Leftism when I have defined it in four separate essays? Why are you claiming that I did not say not all Leftists fit this archetype in all particulars when, in fact, I have said that on ten different occasions? Please tell me why are you leveling accusations you know to be false?

              If you are a grown man, why are you unable to put your thoughts in a logical order, to make an argument, to answer a question honestly?

              If you are not a girl, why are you unable or unwilling to put aside emotion, reason logically, stick to the topic?

              Why are you unable to make any argument aside from an ad hominem and a straw man?

              If you are not a young girl, why are you not ashamed of your performance here? Don’t you have ANY STANDARDS AT ALL?

              • Comment by Centurion13:

                He/she/it DOES have standards. One of them is “with my cloak of anonymity firmly in place, anything for a LULZ”. You can bet your sweet bippy s/he/it would not behave this way if, shortly after posting such time-wasting nonsense, someone stopped by their apartment, knocked on their front door and politely but firmly demanded an explanation….

                See, this is why I don’t care for the Internet. Reason and accountability are NOT required. It’s the perfect breeding ground for progressives because it is, essentially, a perfect fantasy world.

                • Comment by John C Wright:

                  It’s a he. I wish I had been more polite.

                  • Comment by Centurion13:

                    I suppose that beats wishing you’d been more rude. You do occasionally fly off the handle, and it is a thing to behold. But I get the feeling some of these clowns show up just to bait you into losing it. Screw ‘em.

                    Thing I like about you is that you’re what they call a Man with a Chest. You can swing with the philosophers and then go knuckle-and-skull with the blasphemous. You’re what I think of when I read C. S. Lewis describing Christianity as a ‘fighting religion’.

                    If I had to pick an image from sci-fi, you’d be near to Heinlein’s ideal man. If from comics, you remind me of Hank McCoy – the X-Men’s Beast.

                    • Comment by John C Wright:

                      I also wish I were a follower of Odin, so that I could slay these evildoers with lance to the glory of my pagan god, and hang their corpses on the sacred oak tree and feed their blood to the ever-hungry earth.

                      But my master had freaking iron nail driven into His hands and He hung on a freaking tree to kill Him in a fashion you would not kill a mad dog — He did this for that selfsame loudmouth to whom I was rude. He died. He died in lingering pain. He died in lingering pain after being mocked and spat on. Because He loved that loudmouth, and He would have died in pain just as fierce and after humiliation just as deep if Mr Loudmouth has been the only lost soul on the whole freaking planet.

                      And my master promises me infinite joy of endless duration, and give me only one slightly impossible command: to love my enemies.

                      Loudmouth here is not even an enemy, merely a guy with too much time on his hands who does not know how to organize his thoughts into an argument.

                      So, if I were a faithful Viking eager to die and see Valhalla, I would say ‘screw ‘em’ with the same gusto as you. But I am not. I did not get to pick my God. He picked me. Good Lord, but the good Lord is either insane or he can see in me something I cannot.

                      I am supposed to love my enemies, and I cannot even summon the manhood needed to be polite to my debate partners? If I am Heinlein’s ideal man, my dear friend, so much the worse for Heinlein’s ideals.

                      I can swing with philosophers and bark at blasphemers. Let no false modesty say otherwise. But that is a knack, like having a good singing voice, or being born with an athlete’s natural talents.

                      A famous singer or famous ball player can be joy and pleasure to many people, but don’t know his inner life, what sins God sees in his heart, nor do my readers know mine. I am happy to write funny books and amusing articles for my readers, who are my employers and patrons and on whose good opinion I depend. I have a talent for it, and I like using that talent. I enjoy it. But you are seeing a public persona, an act, a put on.

                      Thank you for the kind words, however. If you are willing to say a prayer for me, I would be grateful.

        • Comment by Montague:

          This is not an accusation you can make with confidence unless you know (by means of forced mind-telepathy, I suppose) that the opposite is not true: that is, that Mr. Wright (and this applies to other conservative philosophers) did not reason FROM what is right and wrong TO whom to disagree with, and not the other way around.

          Surprisingly enough, this is what we always claim we are doing. Additionally, why or how we came to say what we say is not even relevant to the actual truth or falsehood of our thesis or arguments.

          Unless you can (essentially) show beyond reasonable doubt that you can read Mr. Wright’s mind, and that his mind contradicts what he has consistently claimed he has done, you have absolutely no business making such claims. You have done no such thing; ergo, you have no business making such claims.

          I repeat, you are claiming to know Mr. Wright’s mind (and, if I am not mistaken, conservative minds in general) better than they do, without giving any evidence, and in face of contradicting claims and evidence. If this seems not absurd to you, nor inimical to rational philosophy, then I see no way to convince you, being as you or I or both of us are madmen.

      • Comment by Montague:

        I think it is historically (accidentally) true (to an extent) to say that the modern “left” is rooted in Marxism (and here I assume you know your recent history, which is for me a sketchy topic.) However, essentially, the philosophy of the Left is not rooted in Marxism, insofar as Marxism itself is rooted in something else: the rejection of man as the rational animal. That is to say, in the rejection of man as the image of God. A ten year old child reading The Time Machine needn’t know about Marx or the Industrial Revulsion to feel in his young heart the terrible thing about the Morlocks – and the Eloi.

        I’m not saying you don’t know this (since you point out that Marxism is only makes [non]sense in the vacuum of Christendom) but I do want make it clear that Leftism is not essentially Marxist, but rather that Marxism is essentially “leftist” – that is, Morlockian, Brutist.

        • Comment by John C Wright:

          With all due respect, you are completely mistaken. I assume you have not read Marx. I have. The basis of his theory is this:

          1. that each man who performs in any economic categories of behavior, such as investment or wage labor, suddenly becomes a member of a social class or caste whose identity, interests, loyalty, and class consciousness all cohere. The true absurdity of this idea is difficult to overstate. According to this theory, a farmer who invests a dollar in the stock market is a member of the Capitalist class, and will seek to act in concert with all other Capitalists. His brother whom he hires as a hand to help in harvest time is therefore a wageearner, who will seek to act in concert with all other wageearners. But if the brother own joint stock in the farm, they are landowners, and etc. When the brother and the farmer take their apples to the fair, since once is a capitalist, he has a unity of interests with a Chinese farmer coming to sell apples at the same fair, even though to sane economists, the two are in competition, and may bid each other’s prices down, to the benefit of the consumer.
          2. The relation of employee to employer is one of one-sided exploitation.
          3. The economy is a zero-sum game: the only way to gain wealth is to steal it from another, or cheat him, usually by means of property rules subtly rigged to cheat the poor.
          4. The only possible solution to this injustice is violence. No justice, no peace.
          5. The other only possible solution (yes, Marx said both) was government expropriation of the property of the rich to distribute it more fairly, and share the wealth.
          6. Income inequality in and of itself is an evil which only violence or state expropriation can solve.
          7. Intellectual property is inherently unfair.
          8. The height of wages is set by the fiat, or arbitrary will, of the employer, in whose best interest it always is to lower wages as far as possible, to the starvation level if possible. There is never any incentive to raise wages because there is no competition between employers for labor. Hence, the only way to raise wages is by imposing a government fiat.
          9. The market system method of distribution is irrational, unfair, unjust, and needed to be replaced by a central authority to see that each man gets what he needs.
          10. State distribution of goods and service should be by need, and this will, by fairy magic, not produce rationing.

          That is just ten fundamental ideas that come from Marx and nowhere but from Marx. I could go on, but I trust you see that these ideas are part and parcel of Leftwing thought, rhetoric, and policy. Not all Leftists believe all points of these ten nor the many others Marx proposed, but they all accept this rhetoric and mindset. To be a Leftist means to be ignorant of economics.

          So while Marxist is essential brutist, as you say, since it rejects God and appeals to barbaric impulses, it is simply and utterly untrue to say the Modern Left is not Marxist. They are intellectually incoherent, and most of them do not know or DO NOT CARE where their ideas originate, nor how they hang together, nor what they imply.

          To be Politically Correct means by definition not to care about factual correctness.

          • Comment by Montague:

            Ah, I suppose I was not clear enough in what I was trying to say. I was not trying to deny that leftism is Marxist today; I only meant that leftism is the same in any age, whether before Marx, or in some future ten thousand years hence.

            This probably is the result of a definition failure. You are using the term leftism to refer primarily to our current heretical foe; if this is what you meant, then I gladly profess my erroneous use of the term. I was equivocating Leftist and Morlock, and thus terming all Morlocks Leftist (from the philosophy of Epicurus to the Albigensians to Hitler to Asimov).

            From now on I will use the word left to refer specifically to the current Marx-descended type, rather than generically to all philosophies denying the rational nature of man, to keep things consistent and correct. [Will someone please print a T-shirt with the slogan, "Define your terms: It can save lives"? I need a reminder over my heart - or head.]

          • Comment by ChevalierdeJohnstone:

            Which is why I am confused by your suggestion that Marx is attempting to come to Christian conclusions about caring for the poor. Where is the human caring in Marx? All Marx appears to care about is the political machinery of human society – absent the personal emotional connections which form said society. There is nothing “social” about socialism nor is there anything “communal” about communism.

            Perhaps I have not said so on this blog, but I do not think your pedigree of Leftism is complete. Leftism is not Marxism, but the other way around. Leftism is simply good-old Western liberalism.

            Liberalism is the revolutionary overthrow of the unjust. As such is has no telos. It is a means to an end, not an end in itself. It is not utopian. Or, it is not the eudamonic utopianism generally referred to by those who seek to immanentize the eschaton. It is more akin to the original, Butlerian utopianism of Erewhon which, of course, everyone knows does not exist.

            Liberalism is healthy when it is a means to achieving a social program with an inherent telos, such as that of the American Founding Fathers who engaged in liberal enterprise to effect the institution of a government that they hoped would be responsive to the citizenry and would seek to secure their rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

            The problem with Leftism is that it is Liberalism run amok. It is Liberalism without any complementary social telos. The goal of Leftist liberalism is the revolutionary overthrow of the existing corrupt system so as to make room for the revolutionary overthrow of whatever comes after it, because the modern Liberal has no intention of building anything, only of tearing down.

            Libertarianism is simply a derivative of Liberalism, of the Erewhonian nature. 13th century serfs didn’t want to institute a sociopolitical system which would protect their liberty through the judicious use of voluntarist insurance schemes, they just wanted the yoke of the oppressive overlord off their necks – freedom. Only pusillanimous pansy privileged pimple-faced punks confuse “libertarianism” with Freedom. The problem with the “non-aggression principle” is that it is impossible to follow. All biological life is aggressive by necessity. Life is combat: resources are limited, so if you work harder to amass resources you are of necessity taking them from someone else. Libertarians make the fantastical declaration that if my neighbor is starving because I outworked him, this is not violence, but if my neighbor is starving because I outworked him by taking his food, it is violence. There’s no distinction in my neighbor’s belly.

            This is why the only free and just society must be one in which the means of liberalism is linked to the actual progress towards a social telos: one in which true human freedom is pursued through the willing acceptance of Christ’s yoke of love for others.

            • Comment by John C Wright:

              Time does not permit me to address all your comments. Let me say only this: I expressed myself poorly if I implied that Marx or any Marxist gives a tinker’s damn about the poor. What I was trying to say is that as a metaphysical and philosophical principle, Marxism cannot exist and makes no sense unless the pagan idea of the poor being DESERVEDLY INFERIOR to the rich and noble and powerful is absent. The only concept that can make that pagan idea absent is the Christian idea of the equality in the eyes of God of all souls. Hence, Marxism cannot exist in the absence of a Christian metaphysical framework. That is why I call Marxism a heresy rather than a new religion. It is specifically a type of Gnosticism.

              Your account of modern Leftist is right on the mark. I strongly recommend the writings of Bruce Charleton (THOUGHT PRISON and ADDICTED TO DISTRACTION) if you have not done so. (Or if you are not Bruce writing under a callsign I don’t recognize). My taxonomy follows that of an Russian Orthodox Monk named Serafina Rose, who taught that there were four stages of corruption that followed from liberalism: worldliness, socialism, a belief in a mystical life force a la George B Shaw, and finally nihilism. Nihilism believes in nothing and exists only to destroy. I think we are seeing a last stage of corruption, not something which had this nature to begin with.

              I applaud your last paragraph. Well said, indeed! The corruption of liberalism is the corruption that flows from putting Christ aside from the core of society in the name of allowing each man his own choice of church for the adoration of Christ. It is a bold move, because as long as the society can maintain its Christian spirit without any help from the public officers, the liberal civilization can work. Having an independent international church whom the secular arm demands all subjects obey and revere also invites corruption, albeit I am no longer as sure as once I was that the corruption of the first sort (democracy gone wrong) is necessarily better than the corruption of the second (monarchy gone wrong). Having an established national church is the worst of both worlds, and it is that that the Pilgrims came to these shores to escape.

              I continue to have faith that corrupt democracies have a better fighting chance of throwing off the disease without recourse to war or revolution.

              Also you get extra points for using the word ‘telos’ correctly. No offense intended, but I just had a flurry of emails from what I thought was a teenager who kept using technical philosophical terms incorrectly, and would not make any correction when corrected. So I appreciate talking to an educated human.

    • Comment by Fail Burton:

      By your own standard “feminism” has been hijacked and is now used by racial supremacists who are in a tussle with real feminists for the title. That would include the false-flag of feminism you yourself fly. In fact the so-called “feminist” intersectionalism you support is no different in principle from white supremacist neo-Nazism. The fact you come here to lecture us and can’t even figure out what a “useful idiot” is is telling. You are no more than a suspect “ally” to these insane people and their moronic cult and they say that publicly and loudly. You have the wrong skin and sex for them to ever completely trust you and they have no interest in equality, which is what real feminists want.

  4. Comment by Heuristics:

    There is a blindspot to conservatism and it is as strange that conservatives don’t see it as it is for the lefties lack of foundation.

    It is this: Conservatives have been on a several hundred year loosing streak into constant but slow surrender, whatever conservatism is at any given time is simply what leftism was a few decades past.

    It does not work, it never has worked, there is no evidence that it ever will work. Conservatism does not ever actually conserve anything, it just constantly gives up ground. At most it can slow down the pace of change a bit.

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      You have fallen into the Leftist trap of assuming that what they call conservatism is primarily concerned with conserving. This is why, in this essay, I offered the more accurate terms of Federalism or Constitutionalism.

      Which has, admittedly, been losing ground since Wilson. The reason for our downfall is we have forgotten the ground of our worldview, which is God.

      • Comment by Brian Niemeier:

        I posit that the blind spot of conservatism/federalism/constitutionalism is the fact that, though its axioms come from the Judeo-Christian tradition, the process of making laws based on those axioms relies on compromise instead of deference to objective truth.

        Compromise is both a great strength and the greatest weakness of republican government. When most men gave at least tacit assent to Judeo-Christian morals, the great compromise served to unite society with only minimal intrusion into the sphere of private life.

        Now that we’ve become a nation of apostates, all that’s required to legally define murder as healthcare or a penalty as a tax is a majority vote (if that).

        • Comment by John C Wright:

          “I posit that the blind spot of conservatism/federalism/constitutionalism is the fact that, though its axioms come from the Judeo-Christian tradition, the process of making laws based on those axioms relies on compromise instead of deference to objective truth.”

          I suspect you are on the right track. I also suspect that enlightenment political philosophy is innately protestant in flavor, and so is abstract, pragmatic, uanlloyed, and individualistic. Generally these are good things — some would say the best things — but like anything else in reality, they have drawbacks and dark sides.

          The pragmatism of conservatives, particularly of the rightwing science fiction authors I read in my youth, emphasize worldly and non-divine reasons for believing in equality and limited government. Far from the self evident truth that all men are endowed by their creator with equal rank and equal rights, these pragmatist looks for economic or survival-value justifications for individualism and limited government, and can provide no serious critique against Libertarians, who take them at their word and drive their logic to the self consistent conclusion that follows, at least in the abstract, from the premise of individualism: something like an anarchy held in check only by an unspoken social contract to serve the mutual self interest of all the self interested people acting in their own self interest who sign the social contract.

          • Comment by Brian Niemeier:

            Everything you just said is consistent with what I’ve observed about the course of Western political history since the Reformation. Throw out the Magisterium, and reverence for Tradition, Scripture, God, and man inevitably fall away in that order.

            Good point about the social contract. The main reason I’m wary of social contract theory is that it presumes materialism.

            It seems that the question now is, living in a federalist state where acknowledgement of Judeo-Christian axioms is required for civic coherence, what’s to be done when many citizens reject those axioms entirely and most are unwilling to publicly assert them?

    • Comment by Zaklog the Great:

      “whatever conservatism is at any given time is simply what leftism was a few decades past.”

      Really? I don’t recall conservatives ever embracing eugenics, or cheering on Communist tyrants. Those are both leftism of decades past.

      • Comment by A Spectator:

        While I agree with your rejection of the definition, I don’t think embracing eugenics or cheering on Communist tyrants are things entirely past. They didn’t change their song in essence. They’re just singing a variation on the same theme – emphasizing the popular falsehoods loudly and pursuing unpopular ones quietly, adjusting as necessary to circumstances. Che Guevara tee-shirts and demographically-targeted abortion regimes abound beneath the permissive eye of a wholly-owned media.

        Now that I write it, I see that you’re probably arguing points which you know to be false but which you suspect will be accepted (for the sake of the positions’ unpopularity). That’s shrewd. Unfortunately, I’ve come two paragraphs in, so I don’t feel like erasing the comment.

        • Comment by Zaklog the Great:

          Now that I write it, I see that you’re probably arguing points which you know to be false but which you suspect will be accepted (for the sake of the positions’ unpopularity).

          I’m not entirely sure I understand what you’re saying well enough to either confirm or deny. What do you think I’m trying to say?

          • Comment by A Spectator:

            I’m not entirely sure I understand what you’re saying well enough to either confirm or deny. What do you think I’m trying to say?

            Sorry. I’m always a shade too cryptic. I was suggesting that perhaps you knew modern “leftists” (or whatever they’re called) are silent proponents of eugenics and communism but also that your opponent would deny it. This would force him to distance himself from these positions he actually supports in order to save face (because those things aren’t popular these days) while simultaneously causing him to abandon his argument regarding conservatives.

            But then again, maybe not. I’m always thrown when things actually are as simple as they seem.

            Still, your hilarious shirt suggests you did know, and you’re just being modest.

            No meta-argument can evade my detection!

        • Comment by Zaklog the Great:

          Speaking of Che, I finally got my wife to assent to my buying possibly the funniest t-shirt I have ever seen, on the condition that I don’t wear it in public around her.

          http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-pwSkhEydG4U/UIeTKfI9_xI/AAAAAAAALGw/WkAADVRKu_Q/s1600/My+che+shirt+is+in+the+wash.jpg

    • Comment by Mary:

      What? support for Prohibition and involuntary eugenic sterilization?

      I know that the leftists have re-written the history books to hide their support. But they supported them.

  5. Comment by Brian Niemeier:

    “… my fellow science fiction fans who lean Left tell me in all earnestness that DUNE could not be published today…”

    Yet again demonstrating their mangling of the phrase “could not” to mean, “should not, based on our arbitrary decrees about what readers should like, despite certain proof that readers really like it.”

    http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/nielsen/xscifi.html

    I’m gonna sing the DUNE song now.

    DUNE DUNE DUNE DUNE DUNE DUNE DUNE DUNE DUNE DUNE DUNE DUNE DUNE DUNE DUNE

  6. Comment by LugoTeehalt:

    The “given” of Leftism – in its various forms – is that there is no such thing as truth, beauty, or goodness. All else follows from that.

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      Ah, I wrote a column just on that point. So I agree.

    • Comment by CorkyAgain:

      … and because they deny that there are any timeless truths, they can only see conservatism as a stubborn clinging to past forms. They are historicists, blind to the transcendent and condemned by their own logic to think only in temporal terms.

      But the truth is, if a conservative defends an existing or past form, it’s not because he’s sentimentally or irrationally attached to it, but because it is (or was) a faithful instantiation of eternal truth, beauty, or goodness.

      Moreover, this is a judgment he has reached through the use of his reason — which must not be confused with mere ratiocination. Reason, rightly understood, includes (or perhaps is best described as) the intuition of those eternal forms.

      So, yes, all else really does follow from the position one takes with respect to truth, beauty, and goodness. If you want to identify the “ultimate grounds” of various political persuasions, this is where you will find them.

  7. Comment by AstroSorcorer:

    Mr. Wright,
    I find your idea of God being the central idea of Conservationism to be new to me; and it appears accurate. I moved from the empty box of Libertarianism towards Conservatism at about the same time I moved beyond Atheism. These were likely not the unrelated events I had thought them to be. All durable beliefs seem to need a belief in something grater than the self, and the idea of God who ennobles mankind and all of the universe is, naturally, the most powerful idea of all. If goodness, and right action are not simply a matter of practical logic (Libertarianism), or group consensus and pressure (Leftism) but the will of the Creater for all mankind, this then explains the preservation of eternal truths (which, unlike other systems, must be considered eternal).

    I propose a possible “bind spot” for Conservatism may be the concept of the Other. In terms of religion, sexual orientation, or other areas where there is (real or perceived) a divergence form the foundational norms a Conservative adheres to, behavior and belief may be so different or inconceivable that the the Other may get mis-attributed as the Barbarian. The logic would be “if they do or believe that, then they could do or believe anything, and thus…. Barbarian”.

    Like all errors, this would be a a matter of how much information was analyzed, and how logical it was analyzed. On consideration, the Other may or may not turn out to be the Barbarian: an enemy of established civilization.

    Still, maybe this is not sufficient as a blind spot. No amount of conversation or blatently obvious facts seem to convince Libertarian leaders of the need for some state protection, and nothing has yet redirected Leftists to realize that the people getting ready to murder them are not wearing Stetsons.

  8. Comment by The OFloinn:

    It isn’t true that “yesterday’s leftism is today’s conservatism.” What is true is that yesterday’s labels are used today with different meanings. That is why it’s important to establish that we are talking about those who today call themselves “leftists,” not what people with similar beliefs called themselves in days of yore. The modern Leftist notion that the Omnicompetent and Benevolent State must take care of us, lest we dash our foot against an unregulated stone, hearken back to monarchism and “the open-handed lord” and would turn the “leftists” of only a generation ago purple with rage. Well, some of them, anyway. In 1967, Bill Baird was handing out free contraceptives to young women at rallies– and was criticized by Betty Friedan and Planned Parenthood. (Time check: contraceptives were then legal for married couples only, not for the unmarried.)

    Consequently, to compare today’s leftists to those sitting on the left side of the Revolutionary Assembly is as silly as comparing modern US Army privates to 19th cent. French avant garde on the grounds that both wore berets. Better to do as John has done and define what is meant operationally, in terms of economic and political attitudes, even if today’s most apropos label was used in a different sense in the past. People who sport Guy Fawkes masks today do not likely espouse the cause for which he plotted and died.

    cf. E. C. Zeeman, E.C. “A geometrical model of ideologies,” in Transformations: mathematical approaches to culture change, pp. 463-479, Academic Press, 1979

    • Comment by Fail Burton:

      I think the distinction we’re failing to make here is in a new thing: people who don’t despise your politics but your race, sex and sexual expression. “Straight white man” is not old school anything, no matter what terms you use.

  9. Comment by Stephen J.:

    I always preferred the term “progressivism” over leftism, partly because it avoids any potential dispute between “Left” as one political time and place defines it and another, and partly because it is at least something of a nod to what those who sincerely attempt to espouse some or all of its principles want to do: they want to improve things for the better for people who currently have the short end of various socioeconomic sticks, i.e. make progress towards a better society as they understand it. I have always believed that the first step in being fair to one’s opponents is to try to call them what they prefer to call themselves whenever possible, or at least find a term both sides can agree on. Most formally it should be called radical progressivism, both for the scope of the changes desired and the speed with which those changes are to be implemented.

    The opposition to this philosophy can certainly be logically called “conservatism” in the sense that it resists making the changes that progressivism wants to make, or at the very least resists the speed and manner with which they are to be made, but it is vulnerable to the charge of historical inconsistency over what status quo is actually being defended. Since its overriding principle is a belief in rationally perceptible unchanging universal objective metaphysical principles and values, as per C.S. Lewis’s Tao from The Abolition of Man (or, in other words, Truth), the ideal term would be something meaning “universalism” — but Catholicism has already coopted that. :) “Objectivism” has likewise been coopted by Ayn Rand, and “Taoism” would just be confusing.

    I therefore propose the rather clunky neologism constantialism, meaning the adherence to philosophical constants, the belief that a society constructed in ignorance or defiance of these constants tends inherently towards instability and injustice, and a willingness to entertain change only where such change moves the society towards those constants rather than away. (It may be that there is already a term which means this and works better, to which I will gladly yield if provided.)

    • Comment by Zaklog the Great:

      The problem with adopting their term for themselves is that not only are their words almost always lies, they are lies designed for one end, to end the discussion, to declare any and all disagreement illegitimate.

      For a while they wanted to call themselves liberals. This is laughably false because except in the area of sexual license, liberty is exactly what they don’t want for the vast majority of us. Now they want to call themselves progressives. If I call them that, I cede that what they want to do is “progress” and therefore, by default, anyone who opposes them is regressing or damaging society.

      I call them leftists. It identifies their overall worldview. Unlike most of their terms for us, it is not insulting. It does not contain lies designed to advance their agenda.

      • Comment by Stephen J.:

        “Now they want to call themselves progressives. If I call them that, I cede that what they want to do is “progress” and therefore, by default, anyone who opposes them is regressing or damaging society.”

        Hm, I see your point. Perhaps “transgressivism” would be better, now I think about it; there is certainly a substantial streak of opinion that seems to hold that transgression of norms for its own sake is a worthwhile political act. (The curve of diminishing returns on that approach is not something I’ve ever seen acknowledged, but they are not the only people to miss that point.)

        But the problem is that most of the people who subscribe to the mindset, at least in my experience, do want to make society “better” and are sincere in that desire, and sincere (if wrong) about how they define and wish to accomplish that. By denying this sincerity through refusal to acknowledge the term, we are effectively calling them liars when they do not believe themselves to be, and that also poisons the well. (Peculiarly, I’ve noticed that even people who are perfectly willing to lie when they think it tactically necessary take offense to being accused of lying on those occasions they aren’t doing it.)

        “Progress” is a label they admire and believe, but as a word it can also signify progress towards disaster or catastrophe — things can get progressively worse as well as better — and it is our job to remind people of that fact.

        • Comment by John C Wright:


          “But the problem is that most of the people who subscribe to the mindset, at least in my experience, do want to make society “better” and are sincere in that desire, and sincere (if wrong) about how they define and wish to accomplish that.”

          At one time I believed that. But their words from speech to speech, and even from paragraph to paragraph, do no comport with any consistency except for what seems a psychological desire to elude guilt. In other words, the Leftists of my experience from Marx onward do not talk like people earnestly desiring to improve anyone’s lot in life, but instead talk like guilt-ridden people clutching at the excuse of their unearned moral superiority which comes from an untested and untestable presumption that by trespassing on social norms and embracing perversion, somehow some sort of good will issue forth. I use today’s example out of daily examples: the Left condemns Israel, calls them racist, for shooting at Hamas emplacements and striking the children Hamas is using as human shields. They kill perhaps a hundred Muslims. Meanwhile, in Libya, countless numbers of Muslims are killed by Muslims. Logically it is IMPOSSIBLE that concern for Muslim life is their motive. It is the desire to accuse Jews. Again, let me use yesterday’s example: 80 people, many of them teenagers, are shot over the Independence Day weekend in Chicago, and 17 or so die of gunshot wounds. No one raises a voice except to call for more gun control laws — in a place where the most restrictive laws in the nation already apply. Contrast this with the shooting of Trayvon Martin, a career thug who was shot in self defense. The New York Time had to invent a new racial category ‘White Hispanic’ in order to fit the narrative that Whites kill Blacks with malice and abandon at random in this nation. Again, it is IMPOSSIBLE that the lives of the black youths slain by violence is their concern, or else the Left would be roughly eighty times as concerned with Chicago gangland violence than with coming to the defense of a murderous black youth whose crime was stopped by the gunpower of his victim. It cannot be anything but a desire to blame Whites, even when George Zimmerman, according to the unscientific and freakish rhetoric of the Left, is ‘hispanic’ which they consider to be a race rather than two or more language groups originating from the Iberian Peninsula.

          I offer you a challenge. If to better the world in any way were their real motive, then at least some of the time, at least once, they would have been successful. Tell me that time.

          One. Just one.

          (Do not dare to use the Civil Rights movement as an example: that was a law passed over Dem objections by the GOP. No GOP ever stood in a schoolhouse door, created the KKK or voted for Jim Crow laws. All of these were Dem behaviors.)

          • Comment by Fail Burton:

            Would a Conservative mindset have thrown over the King of England and Parliament? These were progressive thinkers, not wooden soldiers.

            • Comment by Zaklog the Great:

              Now you’re abusing an, of necessity, imprecise term. “Conservatism” does not stand for keeping whatever happens to stand at present. If that were what it meant, conservatism today would be noticeably leftist, because in our culture, the left has seized most of the institutions of power.

              If you asked, Would a group dedicated to defending the basic rights of the individual and the structure of a society than can foster these have thrown over the King of England and Parliament? you would be approaching the question more precisely, and find a very different answer.

            • Comment by John C Wright:

              Is this question a joke? The word conservative is one invented by Morlocks to make it sound as if their primitive barbarian philosophy is the wave of the future and that our civilized philosophy is a lingering anachronism of the past. We conservatives use the word because no one will understand who are what we are if we call ourselves Constitutionalists Christians.

              Constitutional government cannot coexist with Monarchy. The English have a government that is democratic in practice while monarchist in form and law. We believe form and law should fit the practice, and be honest.

              As it says in the Declaration of Independence, governments should not be put aside for light or transient reasons. If the monarch is not a tyrant, he is to be tolerated and obeyed, because the disorders arising from revolution and rebellion are immense.

              • Comment by ChevalierdeJohnstone:

                You ought to say that constitutional government cannot coexist with hereditary monarchy. It certainly can and has been expressed in the election of a single leader whose governing power is absolute within the confines of the constitutional authority and who retains power for a finite period of time.
                I suppose what I am saying is that “Montesquieuian” constitutional government is not the only kind of constitutional government.

          • Comment by Stephen J.:

            “I offer you a challenge. If to better the world in any way were their real motive, then at least some of the time, at least once, they would have been successful. Tell me that time.”

            Ah, but we have to bear in mind that what counts as “bettering the world” may not mean the same thing for them. For the Left, no-fault divorce laws, for example, were a great bettering of the world, because they gave women the ability to escape abusive marriages easily, and when paired with alimony gave them the ability to do so without plunging into poverty; for the rest of us, who saw the fallout from those (mostly, it must be said, also women) abusing that capacity to abandon a family out of boredom or egotism, and the fundamental general weakening of social willingness to commit to marriage and families at all in that context, it was a great worsening of the world.

            In a purely utilitarian cost-benefit analysis, one can easily demonstrate that the overall harm done to the many by this power far outweighs the benefit to the few. But because — in their viewpoint — the people harmed by the change were mostly those privileged by the previous status quo, and those who benefited from it were, by definition, those disadvantaged by that status quo, then by definition the change has to be an “improvement”. They are like people trying to lose weight stuck at looking at themselves through funhouse-mirror lenses: their basic problem is a fundamental distortion in perspective about what is Good, not — at least at first — a hypocrisy of intention about desiring that Good.

            Such a distortion cannot stand forever, of course: sooner or later reality must eventually sow doubt and then dread, and there, I think, the mindset you rightly condemn kicks in — the clinging to moral superiority through public advocacy rather than private labour, the desire to Be Right rather than truly Do Good, the refusal to admit how one can use the status of the Disadvantaged to claim Privilege for oneself in key situations. But as has been noted before in this space, those people are the Anointed rather than the Benighted, to use commenter Martel’s terms: if we want to reach the Benighted before they become Anointed, we may have to use honey rather than vinegar in our words, perhaps.

            • Comment by John C Wright:

              But we were not disputing that the Left ruins things and makes them worse under the rhetoric of trying to improve them. That is of course their method. But after six hundred failed attempts to improve society without a single success, any honest man would reassess his assumptions. An honest man does not say, “I want no fault divorce because I want it.” He says, “I want no fault divorce because the harm caused by frivolous divorce is less than the harm caused by women unable to escape loveless or abusive marriages.” and then if no fault divorce causes more harm than good, he wakes up and changes his mind.

              But Liberals never wake up. Never, never, never, ever. They pull the pillow over their ears and shut their eyes and pretend to snore when the alarm clock of reality rings.

              • Comment by Stephen J.:

                “But after six hundred failed attempts to improve society without a single success, any honest man would reassess his assumptions.”

                But that is precisely my point: they sincerely think they have succeeded, because they honestly don’t think the harm they cause is too high a price for the goods they gain — in many instances either because they have no personal experience with the harm, or they are too personally invested in that ostensible good, or they have already been indoctrinated to distrust those who would provide conflicting evaluations. You cannot reassess your assumptions if you aren’t seeing the evidence against them clearly enough to realize they need reassessment, and our perspective on what is “good” and what is “harmful” depends vastly on how real our experiences have made those terms to us, when we have not (as very few people are nowadays) been actively taught a specific moral definition of the terms by which to evaluate those experiences.

                I once dated a girl who firmly stated her aversion to marriage, on the ideological grounds often cited by feminists about its being an outdated and politically imbalanced arrangement; however, when I realized over the course of my acquaintance with her that she didn’t personally know a single marriage that hadn’t ended in divorce or made both of its participants miserable, including her own parents’, her antipathy became a lot more understandable. She wasn’t being consciously dishonest; she was simply operating on the convictions her personal experience had hammered home to her. (She seems to have gotten over her antipathy long since; she is in fact happily married today with several kids. But it took time, and the loyalty and decency of the man who became her husband, to accomplish that change; I couldn’t argue her out of her position, because it wasn’t argument that put her into it.)

                I am, as always (and I beg your indulgence on this, with appreciation for the patience already extended) expending great rhetorical effort on a segment of Leftism that may well be the minority, and is certainly not well represented by those with whom you find yourself arguing over and over again. But I continue to think of the people I actually know in real life and their real kind-heartedness in practice, and I can only conclude that their beliefs about how to solve society’s ills are sincere; I can still think them tragically mistaken, and biased by having been taught to think badly of those who would suggest alternatives, but I honestly can’t call them dishonest or malicious. They are better than their philosophy in practice, mostly because they don’t think it through or feel obliged to adhere to every precept at their own expense.

                As for Liberals “never” waking up, that’s not entirely true. I did, albeit as a cradle Catholic I had an advantage over pure secular Leftists; the blogger Neo-Neocon (neoneocon.com) has links to her own conversion story. Heck, you yourself have indicated on this blog that you were once more sympathetic to libertine views than you are now. So perhaps it may come down simply to the quote often attributed to St. Francis: “Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words.”

              • Comment by ChevalierdeJohnstone:

                Again I point out the false assumption: the intent of no-fault divorce laws is not to make the world a better place. The intent of no-fault divorce laws is to prevent some people from making the world worse, by preventing one spouse from trapping the other in an “unhappy” marriage. Only if the world operates as a zero-sum game does preventing one type of “worse” automatically result in “better”. Though leftist policies are often written in a zero-sum manner, the leftist ideology recognizes that the world is no zero-sum. Thus the prevention of “worsening” by no means implies any attempt to make things “better”.

                In general Mr. Wright and all like-minded commenters give Leftism and Leftists far too much credit. The Christian assumption is that if you don’t want some people to be allowed to make others feel bad, this is because you want the others to feel better. The Leftist is only concerned with preventing the perceived injustice by the guilty party. Oppressor groups may not oppress. No corollary assumption is made regarding the right of so-called oppressed groups to oppress their oppressors.

                • Comment by John C Wright:

                  In general Mr. Wright and all like-minded commenters give Leftism and Leftists far too much credit.


                  Please pay attention to what I said. I did not say what the Leftists motive was, I said only that if their motive was what Stephen J said it was, then they are dishonest.

                  Had I been asked, I would have said the motive of no fault divorce was to encourage serial polygamy. The nation had lost faith in God, and wanted to liberate their animal spirits so to have sex with multiple partners.

    • Comment by The OFloinn:

      If one stands at the point (x,y) one may “progress” in an infinite number of directions, not all of them leading to happy results. The progressive errors lie in supposing a) that there is only one direction for progress and b) that they know which direction that is. Only a hundred years ago, eugenics would see us to the promised land. Shortly after, it was technocracy. The progressives of the LaFollette type saw our salvation in the managerial state, in which the precepts of scientific management would be applied to government at large and the state run with all the wisdom and competency of General Motors.

      In change management, we recognize three types:
      Some stakeholders are early adopters (innovators), some are late adopters (conservatives), and others are nonadopters (inhibitors).
      1) Innovators. Motto: “Tear down that old fence!”
      Explorers and risk-takers are stimulated by the challenge and risk of the unknown.
      The discontented have little to lose with the current situation. Anything would be better than this.
      Specialists and professionals have an urge to “advance their own specialty.”
      Innovators drive change. They are not bound to the past. But they can also grandstand, push pet notions, or try to make themselves look good.
      Innovators can be convinced of the need for change through logic. “It sounds like a good idea.”
      2) Conservatives. Motto: “Don’t tear the fence down until we know why it was put up.”
      Team players are comfortable with the status quo.
      The timid are not sure that the new idea really will be better than the old.
      The hard-nosed are not convinced by abstract arguments. “Show me.”
      Conservatives are skeptical of change and bound to the past by results. They help ensure that something that works is not abandoned—except by something that works better.
      Conservatives can be convinced of the need for change by results.
      3) Inhibitors. Motto: “Old fences are sacred!”
      Monopolists resent any challenge to their perceived rights and status.
      Die-hards have said the opposite for so long that they can no longer back down.
      Traditionalists like the old ways because they are the old ways.
      Inhibitors are bound to the past by dogma. They cannot be convinced; at best, they can be bypassed. In the end, self-interest will bring them on-board. An inhibitor may sometimes become uninhibited if moved to an area where he has no vested interest or history.

      These were developed in training materials for business culture change management. Anyone who has seen innovation in business knows that, like random mutations, most ideas are bad ideas. That is why nice-sounding theories must be backed up with experience, trials, data, etc. Many a nice-sounding theory has foundered on the rocks of execution. Hence, the interplay between the innovators and the conservatives is crucial to any genuine progress in business. The hare-brained ideas get weeded out by the “Show Me!” conservatives, so that when progress is made, it is made in the direction of actual improvement. (cf. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EVOP) In this sense, it is seen that the progress depends on the conservatives.

  10. Comment by Fail Burton:

    The ideology which drove you and Brad Torgersen to leave the SFWA is intersectionalism. It does in fact clearly define its ground. Movements in America are in constantly flux. For example, not so long ago there was no Tea Party, but it would be wrong to never mention them today in any conversation about Conservatism. And by late ’40s standards, Heinlein was a liberal, at least artistically.

    What drove you from the SFWA is not liberalism, Leftism or feminism, though intersectionalism appropriates or hides within those terms to make its overt racism, sexism and supremacy more credible. No less than John Scalzi, the former president of the SWFA has openly asked us to “bone up” on intersectionalism on his blog. The Damien Walter who went after Larry Corriea at the Guardian has since Tweeted “Google intersectionalism.”

    There is nothing inherently bigoted about liberalism, Leftism, the QUILTBAG community or feminism, yet all of those have been hijacked as camouflage for what is nothing better than a racist and sexist supremacist cult. Intersectionalism claims to speak for all women, non-whites and for the QUILTBAG community, but it no more does so than neo-Nazis speak for straight white men, or Conservatism.

    Intersectionalists regularly attack traditional feminists. In fact there is something of an undeclared war there. Stuff like “white privilege” doesn’t come from feminism but from intersectionalism. Liberals regularly show up on Correia’s site that don’t like these folks.

    I realize the difference seems negligible from the outside but it’s definitely there. You can’t really fight what you can’t see and sometimes you end up fighting the wrong folks.

  11. Comment by Sir Robert:

    I really liked this post. I tried having a similar conversation with my agnostic-Buddhist left-leaning secularist friend while on a jog in a rain storm (just try it). It went something like this:
    I told him there is a great divorce right now between the human powers of emotion and reason. Today we are ruled by emotions. We do not argue anymore; we simply feel, react, shout, and accuse. I told him a people need a philosophy grounded in the marriage of emotion and reason (head and heart) and that very few (one really) worldviews offer such a marriage. He correctly responded with, “Yes, but that means it will be based on religion.” To which I responded, “right.” I lost him after that, as he could only imagine “zealots” ruling the day (which is ironic because that is what you get when you divorce emotion and reason and, in the case of zealots, emphasize strict emotion).
    Q.E.D. I liked this post on ultimate grounds, and it is very true. My only question would be is with Libertarianism, (having flirted with Libertarianism myself but becoming disenchanted with the atomism of the movement soon after) do you object to it because it leaves the realm simply undefended or is there something more, such as its radical emphasis on autonomy and a kind of “forget you” attitude towards everyone?

    • Comment by John C Wright:


      do you object to it because it leaves the realm simply undefended or is there something more, such as its radical emphasis on autonomy and a kind of “forget you” attitude towards everyone?

      Allow me to quote myself. It is a topic I have often discussed.

      http://www.scifiwright.com/2014/05/the-wright-perspective-why-i-am-no-longer-a-libertarian/

      http://www.scifiwright.com/2010/02/why-i-am-not-quite-a-libertarian-revisited/

      http://www.scifiwright.com/2010/01/one-reason-why-i-am-no-longer-a-libertarian/

      • Comment by johnedko:

        John,

        Thank you very much for posting these links – very interesting reading and a lot to chew over. I will say that I find myself identifying more as a Catholic then as a name on the “ism” scale (libertarianism or any other). But my thoughts on this are evolving (or I am just realizing changes that had already taken place – as one commentator has said in the past).

        -John

        PS: I am still thinking about the Frozen response, but haven’t followed up for two points – (1) I want to watch the sequence again – but have not had a chance, and (2) realized that my knowledge of symbolism is not great, but I am not sure where to go to learn more. I don’t like the “because I say so” flavor of your answer, but I also can’t say you are wrong – I just don’t know how to learn more on the topic at the moment. Could you recommend any good books on the topic?

        PPS: Halfway through our run of Hairspray. Nothing like live community theatre, the condensate pan on the A/C unit overflowed – into the unit – and we had a waterfall backstage during Act I. Thankfully one of the actors’ dad does HVAC and he happened to be in the audience – so for Intermission four of us were up on the roof fixing the A/C unit. Okay, only the dad fixed it and the other three of us watched and learned.

  12. Ping from Divide | Republican Club of the Foothills:

    […] consciously waging war against the United States for the last half century or so.  To paraphrase John Wright, in economics they are socialist, in politics they are totalitarian, in philosophy they are […]

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